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Betting Home Underdogs

Home underdog trends tend to vary from year to year in the NFL. But if you look at the big picture over the past 25 years, there have been two constants in the NFL. First of all, home underdogs cover the spread more often than not, and secondly, the public almost always prefers betting road favorites instead.

The public’s fascination with backing road favorites is not too surprising, especially since “chalk” players like to ride the NFL’s most popular teams at what they believe to be low odds.

However, home-field advantage remains an underrated aspect when wagering on NFL games. If a team is an underdog at home, that means the road team is the better team overall heading into the game and the more preferable betting option, especially for those who already like picking favorites to begin with.

Betting Value with Home Underdogs

The value with home underdogs, though, comes with digging deeper when handicapping their games by examining situational and motivational betting angles that should always be considered beforehand.

Road favorites like the 3-0 Cincinnati Bengals visiting the 2-2 New England Patriots in Week 5 in 2014 off their bye is the perfect example. Everybody was down on the Patriots except the Patriots after they were shellacked by the Kansas City Chiefs the previous week on Monday Night Football.

But New England did what New England does and used the naysayers as motivation, going on to beat the Bengals 43-17 as 2.5-point home underdogs in front of a national television audience.

Here are a couple of additional betting scenarios to consider in favor of home underdogs:

playing Against a Division Rival

First of all, familiarity breeds contempt, and that is clear when division rivals face each other in the NFL. Playing two times a year every season, division rivals tend to hate each other and play tough and physical games against one another.

Coupled with the intensity from a home crowd that also hates the opposing team, underdogs in division rivalries are almost always a threat to not only cover the spread but also pull off the outright upset with a straight-up victory, regardless of the talent discrepancy between the two teams.

This is especially true late in the season when the road favorite has something on the line and the home dog has the opportunity to play spoiler.

Playing in Second Straight Home Game

Secondly, underdogs playing their second straight game at home are generally more comfortable and focused than in their previous game. They haven’t had to travel in nearly two weeks, meaning more time spent in their own homes and in their own beds without the stresses of being on the road.

In a league where any team can win on any given day, sometimes how much energy a team has can be the deciding factor. In addition, these home dogs tend to be even more dangerous if they lost in front of their fans the week before. No team wants to be embarrassed in front of their home crowd twice in a row, especially in such a high-profile league.

No travel combined with added motivation makes home underdogs coming off of a home loss extremely dangerous.